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Commercial Pool Maintenance

The ABC’s of Above Ground Pools

Owning an above ground pool can come with a lot of new information.  Here is a quick ABC terms guide for your new pool!  If you have any questions, please contact us!

A’s

ACID – A chemical which releases hydrogen ions into water, decreasing pH. When water measures below 7.0, it is acidic. Add acid to lower pH and alkalinity.

AIR LEAK – What happens when something on the suction side is not air-tight. Pool pumps need to create a vacuum in order to work properly. Air leaks can be dangerous as trapped air can be compressed, causing high pressures. Air leaks can cause foam and bubbles. Correct air problems immediately.

ALGAE – Microscopic plants deposited in pool water by wind, rain and dust. It comes in many colors including green, yellow, brown, black, and pink.

ALGAECIDE – A strong chemical which kills algae and deters its proliferation.

AUTOMATIC CHLORINATOR – Automatically dispenses chlorine tablets into pool water.

AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER – Device that cleans debris on the bottom of the pool automatically.

B’s

BACKWASH – Cleaning your filter sand that involves reversing the flow of water through the filter.

BACKWASK HOSE – Connected to filter that carries wastewater away from pool. (some people use their vacuum hose to carry wastewater)

BAQUACIL – An alternative sanitizer that is part of a pool water treatment system that uses no chlorine. Most chemicals used with chlorine are incompatible with Baquacil, and vice versa.

BRUSH – Connects to your telepole. You should brush your pool weekly.

C’s

CALCIUM HARDNESS – A measure of the level of calcium salts in the water. Helps determine how scaling or corrosive the water is. It is especially important to monitor in pools with a plaster finish. It helps ensure longer vinyl liner life.

CARTRIDGE FILTER – Filter with a pleated cloth element which traps debris.

CHLORINE – Chemical sanitizer that kills bacteria and algae

CLARIFIER – Chemical used to remove haze from water. Usually works by causing small particles to join together so the filter can filter them out.

CLOUDY – Description of the water when you cannot see the bottom of the pool

COPING – Plastic pieces under top cap that hold the liner to the pool.

D’s

DEFOAMER – A chemical which reduces and/or eliminates foam. Simply squirt the product over surface.

E’s

EYEBALL – Fitting that attaches to the pool return so that the water can be propelled in a certain direction.

F’s

FILTER – A device that removes waste particles from the pool as water passes through a porous substance called the filter medium. Types of swimming pool filters are sand, diatomaceous earth and cartridge.

FILTER CYCLE – Length of time between backwash cycles.

FLOATER – Dispenses chlorine tablets into your pool while floating in the water.

FLOCCULATING AGENT – Add to water to coagulate particles that cause haze. Sinks all cloudy particles to the bottom for easy vacuum removal.

FREE CHLORINE – The amount of chlorine in the pool that is available to kill bacteria.

FLANGE – Used to connect the ladder to the deck.

H’s

HAZE – Description used when you can see the bottom of the pool but the pool is not crystal clear.

L’s

LEAF VACUUM – Attaches to a garden hose. Pushes leaves into a bag on the top of the leaf vacuum.

LEAF RAKE – A deep net to scoop leaves under the water.

LEAF SKIMMER – A shallow net for skimming the water’s surface.

M’s

MURIATIC ACID – Used to lower pH and Alkalinity

O’s

ORGANIC – Debris such as microorganisms, perspiration, urine, etc. that needs to be burned up or “oxidized” regularly to prevent haze, algae, chloramines, etc.

P’s

pH – A measure of how acidic or basic the water is. pH of 7.0 is neutral. Pool water should be kept slightly basic: pH 7.2-7.8 PSI (pounds per square inch) – Measurement unit of filter pressure.

PPM (parts per million) – The accepted unit measurement of chemical concentration in swimming pool water.

PRIMING – Filling the strainer or vacuum hose with water to help push air out of the filter system.

PRESSURE GAUGE – Dial located on backwash valve or on top of filter. Indicates the pressure in the filter. The gauge signals when the filter needs cleaning or backwashing.

PUMP – Moves water through the filter and around the pool.

R’s

RETURN FITTING – The point at which water returns to the pool.

S’s

SAND FILTER – A tank that uses sand to filter pool water.

SANITIZER – A chemical used to kill bacteria. Generic names: Chorine, Bromine, and Baquacil.

SHOCK – An oxidizer that “burns off” the organic wastes. Typically a larger than normal dose of chlorine is used as a shock.

SKIMMER – Box-like device on side of pool, which allows the pump to skim the top few inches of pool water. Contains a removable basket that needs to be cleaned often.

STABILIZER – Prevents sunlight from dissipating your chlorine out of your pool. Used once a season. Commonly called conditioner or cyanuric acid.

STRAINER – A basket in front of the pump that keeps fine debris from reaching the pump’s impeller area.

SODA ASH – Sodium Carbonate. A chemical used to raise pH.

SODIUM BICARBONATE – A chemical to raise the Total Alkalinity.

SOLAR COVER – Blanket to warm the pool water.

T’s

TELESCOPING POLE – Pole that extends to use with cleaning devices.

TEST STRIPS – Easy to use strips that test your chemicals by dipping them into the water.

V’s

VACUUM HOSE – Attaches to the vacuum head on one end and to the vacuum plate on the other.

VACUUM PLATE – Provides a vacuum-sealed connection in the skimmer for the vacuum hose.

VACUUM HEAD – A flat piece of equipment that is connected to the vacuum hose and pole to vacuum the pool.

 

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Enhance Your Pool With These Products From Smith Pool

Now that you have an above ground pool, there are a few things you can add to enhance the enjoyment of the pool!  Here are a few things offered by Smith Pool!

STEPS – The steps provide a much easier way to enter the pool than using the traditional deck ladder. They are also great for small kids to sit on and play on in the pool.

AUTO CHLORINATOR – The auto chlorinator automatically dispenses chlorine tablets. It is hooked up to your existing filter system.

AUTOMATIC CLEANERS – Some people say automatic pool cleaners are a necessity. If you are tired of laboring over a dirty pool, this definitely for you.

ALTERNATIVE SANiTIZERS – This could mean less work for you. The Frog system is a low chlorine system. Come by Smith Pool and Spa for more information.

POOL LIGHTS – Pool lights are a great way to enjoy night swimming or just for decorative purposes. Smith Pool and Spa carries many different types of lights for your above ground pool. All are safe and economical.

FOUNTAINS – A fountain not only adds style to your pool, but also cools your pool water by up to 10 degrees during the heat of the season.

SOLAR COVER – When Fall arrives, no one is ready to end their pool season. Solar covers help to keep the pool water warm when placed on the pool water at night. They can warm pool water temperature up to 10 degrees when used correctly. They are also great for an early start to the pool season. Although they are not designed as winter covers, they can help keep debris out of the pool.

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Why NOW Is the Perfect Time to Install an Above Ground Pool

The ABCs of Vinyl Pool Liner Problems

A pool’s a pool, right?

Wrong. There are two types of pools: Vinyl and gunite. Vinyl liners are literally a huge sheet of vinyl, installed between the water and the walls and floor of the pool. Gunite, or ShotCrete, pools have specially designed plaster between the water, and the floor and walls.

Both serve as waterproof membranes, preventing the water from seeping into the walls or the floor of the pool.The vinyl liner takes less time to install compared to the gunite liner, and it is also cheaper.

Here are some of the problems and ways to maintain and repair the vinyl liner.

The ABCs of Vinyl Pool Liners

Liner Getting out of Track

Liners should fit perfectly into the pool’s shape; otherwise, the liner could pop out of the track if it’s not centered well, or if it is too big or small. Use a hair dryer or a heat gun to stretch the vinyl liner and put it back into position. Be careful not to stretch the liner too much, or overheat and melt it. After fitting it into position, use a liner lock to keep it in its track.

The Vinyl Liner is Fading

This happens due to the pool chemicals, and from the sun. To avoid your liner from losing its color, do not clean above the waterline any more than necessary, and while cleaning it, make sure to use mild vinyl cleaner.

Also, do not add concentrated granular chemicals, especially pH decreaser and Calcium Hypochlorite, because they settle on the floor of the pool and cause its resilience and strength to decline.

A Leaking Vinyl Liner

Liners can start leaking if they puncture or if they are old. Shut off the pump and plug lines for a day to detect if the leak is from the pump. Determine where the liner is leaking and have it fixed as soon as possible; it can destroy the structural integrity of the pool.

Draining the Pool

Be careful when draining your pool—and when refilling it, reset the liner with a very strong vacuum. It is, however, highly advised that you do not drain the pool completely, as the walls could collapse or bow inward.

Stains on the Liner

If your vinyl liner becomes stained, you should clean it by gently scrubbing, then ensuring the chemistry is balanced, shocking the pool if necessary. Mineral stains can be cleaned by using specific chemicals.

Holes in the Liner

If you notice that your liner is torn, patch it by using a pool liner patch kit. There are three types:Gel, a vinyl mat to be cut out into patches, or an adhesive, precut vinyl patch.

These are things you need to watch out for to keep your pool functioning. When these problems go unnoticed, they could result in the destruction of your pool.

Contact us to find out more information about pool liners.

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How to Throw a Memorial Day Pool Opening Party

Parties allow people to have a good time, socialize and just forget about the stresses of every day life. Whether it’s a birthday, wedding anniversary, get-together or just a weekend party with close friends, you can’t go wrong with a pool-side party. However, a good party doesn’t just happen.

Organizing a memorial pool opening party requires good planning. Just like any other event, organization requires you to follow certain steps to attain success. However, there’s room for creativity to ensure that your party reflects your taste and personality.

Here are some tips to help you organize a successful pool opening party:

Top 7 Tips to Organizing a Successful Pool Party

Choose a Theme for Your party

A theme gives your party its general impression and appearance of the setup. Whatever theme you opt for, it should rhyme with the purpose of your party. Whether you pick Hawaiian luau or a patriotism theme, it’s bound to guide the selection of the right props and decorations for your event.

Holiday themed plastic serving wear can be obtained from many local decor stores near you. Consider the popular Cinco de Mayo décor at this time of the year as a Fiesta pool party is loved by many.

Include fun things such as chili pepper-shaped hors d’oeuvres trays, inexpensive straw sombreros, and cactus ice cube trays to bring out your theme. Pool-friendly plastic bar-ware and paper plate sand utensils can also go a long way in building your theme.

Send Invitations

Send invitations early to those you want to attend, a few weeks before your big day. It gives your friends and family enough time to prepare for the event. They get to properly plan their holiday and put together the necessities they might need such as swim wear. Your invitation list can also help you plan for the right drinks and food based on your expected guests.

Create a Party Menu

A menu with light foods is ideal for a pool party. Add chicken salad, croissants, pasta salads, fruit kabobs and grilled veggies to your menu. Explore great and summery food ideas on Pinterest to help you come up with a light, mouth-watering menu.

Select Refreshments

Every party requires cold drinks to help guests cool down, especially as the weather warms up in spring. Going with the theme, festive margaritas and refreshing cocktails won’t disappoint. You can also make Sangira by soaking different fruits in wine. Don’t forget to include sparkling water in your refreshments list.

Buy blueberries, mint, and fresh ginger syrup to help you prepare a classic rum mojito for your cocktail drink. Party punch, lemonade and iced tea are other great drinks for guests who prefer non-alcoholic drinks.

Prepare Your Pool Side Space

Your guests will need space to lounge around the pool. Arrange for enough chairs to accommodate the number of guests you expect to grace your party. Where do you intend to set your food table? Place some chairs in the fiber grass tanning ledge area to create more pool side space.

Organize Toys and Games

Kids and adults like to play during parties. Organize for toys such as inflatable toys, squirt guns and other pool toys to engage your young guests; if you are expecting kids at your party. Floating ring toss game, ball games and water volleyball are some games most adults would love to play to keep the party going.

Choose Songs for Entertainment

Music is at the center of every party. Choose songs you think your guests might like. Create a music list with energetic songs to play for the better part of the day. Songs with a mellow mood are perfect for late afternoons and evenings to go with the weather at that time of the day. Don’t forget to turn on your pool lights to create the right ambience for your pool opening party.

With early preparation and some help from your friends or family, you should be able to throw an exceptional pool opening party this spring. Note that there’s no formula to hosting a successful party. However, it takes creativity on your end to spruce things up and host one-of-a-kind party bound to leave your guests talking about it for weeks or even longer.

Contact us for professional pool maintenance and cleaning services in preparation of your pool opening party!

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Hot Tub Brands

How To Enjoy Your Hot Tub This Winter

Hot tubs can be an added upside to your winters, particularly if you live in a region where the sun shines only in the summers, and it’s generally cold the year round. A hot tub allows you to have a good time with friends or family, and keeps you cosy and relaxed the year round. To help you enjoy your hot tub this winter, here are some tips that really work.

  • Maintenance

The foremost step to enjoying your hot tub is its maintenance. Make sure your hot tub has a freeze control system, and has some sort of a freeze protection system. Often, the pipes exposed to the cold may get damaged or the water may freeze in the pipes. This can damage the hot tub, and can make your hot tub much less effective. A good idea is to buy a heat retaining cover for its, or use a thermal blanket.

  • Preparation is Key

Prepare not just the tub, but yourself for a good spa session at home. Keep a bathrobe with you, right next to the Jacuzzi and a pair of slippers or sandals to avoid direct contact with snow. It is also a good idea to clear a path from your house to the tub beforehand and salt it. This can minimize any slipping or other accidents, and keep you warm when you walk to and from the hot tub.

  • Keeping it warm

Particularly in areas where it snows or rains during the winters, it is recommended that the tub is kept covered at all times. You can get an insulated cover for your outdoor tub, to make sure the cold does not damage it. In most cases, it is ideal that you get tubs which have built in foam insulation systems, auto heat control and other similar features. Smith Pools carries several brands of hot tubs with all these different features. 

  • Warmer towels

While a bath robe or an extra towel may reduce the rate at which your body loses heat once you start to leave the hot tub, it is always a good idea to get a towel warmer. This way, you can be more comfortable, and may not lose any heat, and may not get sick due to the quick changes in temperature. You can find other alternatives for a towel warmer, such as fresh towels from the dryer.

  • Keeping your head warm

If there is one thing that can stop you from enjoying your hot tub fully, its wet hair in the cold, freezing weather. Therefore, to avoid any unpleasantness, wear a warm beanie, or a hat to keep your head warm, and avoiding getting sick.

  • The perfect match

This step can make all the difference in your hot tub experience. You need to make sure you get an expert opinion from the local salesman regarding which tub may be the best, or which features to look for in the perfect Jacuzzi for you.

It is not only important for you to look for the best hot tub or for the perfect way to maintain the Jacuzzi, but also to care for yourself, and keeping yourself warm. We hope these tricks helps enjoy your hot tub to the fullest.

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pool cleaner

Exactly What to Look For in Your Automatic Cleaner

Let’s face it. Cleaning a pool probably wasn’t what got you excited about getting one in the first place. Very few pool owners, except for the Mr. Cleans among us, foresee themselves spending hours meticulously cleaning the water. And why should you? With automatic cleaners, you can spend more time swimming, relaxing and just enjoying your pool. Follow these simple tricks to choosing your new cleaner and you’ll find yourself falling in love with your pool all over again.

Evaluate Your Cleaning Needs

It sounds a little dramatic but it’s necessary. You really do need to consider just what you’ll be cleaning in your pool. Is it your regular debris like a few stray leaves and dirt? Do your kids track in sand on a regular basis? Are large leaves a constant battle? Chances are you already know what’s dirtying up your pool but if not, observe for a few days and make a list. Knowing what you need to clean out is essential to finding an automatic cleaner that can do just that!

Consider Maintenance

How many times have you bought an appliance that only made your life more complicated? We won’t let that happen with your automatic cleaner. After all, the point is to reduce the number of hours you spend cleaning anyway. Look for a device that gets to the job done with as little parts as possible. Anyone who has bought an expensive coffee machine knows the more parts there are, the more chances for breakage exist. Avoid the headache with a simply designed cleaner like the Lil Shark. It can be attached to a hose in minutes to suction away gunk and grime like sand and small debris from your pool. It truly does all the dirty work for you!

Think Efficient

When considering overall efficiency, decide whether you have or would like a separate booster pump. You’ll need to consider cost, energy use and the effectiveness of each different type of cleaner for your pool. For those without a separate booster pump and battling larger debris, the Polaris 360 makes for a nice choice. This pressure-side cleaner works on your circulation pump and literally vacuums up garbage.

The Polaris 280 is designed to work with a separate booster pump. This classic device is renowned for its ability to clean well and fast. Like its 360 cousin, it is a pressure-side cleaner, allowing it to suck up dirt into an easily removed bag. They both function like a vacuum cleaner for your pool.

With the right automatic cleaner, you’ll be able to kiss those hours spent chucking leaves and dirt out of the pool goodbye. You better start planning what to do with all that extra free time. A cannonball contest with your kids? Some extra laps to work off Friday’s dinner out?

Don’t forget that Smith Pools offers the maintenance and know-how you need to keep your new device running properly for years to come. Be sure to fill out contact form to learn more about available services.

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Pool Closing

How to Make Your Above Ground Pool a Backyard Oasis

Above ground pools aren’t what they used to be and that’s a good thing! These swimming pools have undergone a lot of changes in recent years and can now make for a stylish addition to your backyard. Embrace the new versions and get inspired to enhance your lawn as well. With these decorating ideas, you’ll soon have the backyard of your dreams. A little oasis behind your home is sure to become your favorite relaxation spot.

Frame Your Pool

One of the biggest mistakes people make is installing their above ground pool and failing to care for their backyard. It’s a bit like making a flat-screen television the centerpiece of an otherwise bare room. While all eyes are likely to be on your lovely pool, you’ve got to give the piece of a nice backdrop to work with.

While decks are one of the most effective ways to frame your pool, there are other ways you can enhance its appearance. First, make sure your lawn is well cared for. Take time to cut and trim the grass, filling in bare patches as needed. It sounds basic,  but these simple steps are the foundation for a healthy, beautiful backyard. Next, frame the pool with large or small pebbles as you like. Grey stones look particularly charming against stainless steel pools. A walkway can be made with smooth stones, bordered by low shrubs on each side.

Make Your Outside Porch Shabby-Chic

Sure, you may spend a lot of time gazing at your pool but, have you ever considered how it looks from the opposite angle? Once you have your lawn cared for, it may be time to spruce up your porch. You’ll want both a cozy place for guests to sit in and a piece of eye candy for them to enjoy from the pool.

Luckily, improving the appearance of your porch doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. If you guessed a fresh coat of paint is the ideal starting place, you’re correct. Once repainted, you can even use stencils to create a fun and funky pattern on the walls. Hang plants in colorful pots by the edges of the porch to add some greenery. Large, oversized plants give the same effect and can be used to frame patio furniture. Add bright and patterned throw pillows to your furniture for pops of color that don’t break the bank.

Add Personal Touches

You may already have decorative pieces that would fit well in your backyard. Items like colorful glass bottles, mini stone lanterns, and mounted planters are easy to get your hands one. A bottle tree peeking out in your garden is a conversation piece for visitors. Create a miniature garden off to the side of your pool with a small fountain. The sound of running water couldn’t be more relaxing as you dip in the pool. This little pieces come together to make your backyard a place an inviting, personalized place for all who enter.

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swimming pool maintenance

Three Key Steps to Winterizing Your Pool

It’s always hard to say goodbye to swimming parties, spontaneous cannon balls, and a relaxing dip in the pool as winter months begin. However, if done properly, winterizing your pool can make it easier to jump right in once summer rolls around again. Check out these three tips to prep your pool for falling temperatures and make the process a little less painful.

Get Things Sparkling Clean

The first step to winterizing your  pool is to clean it and clean it well. It might seem easier to just do a surface clean and pick out a few leaves here and there. But when you get ready to take a dip next summer, you’ll be glad you already did all the hard work last winter.

Start by picking up any pool toys, ladders and floats. Next, use your pool vacuum or net to fish out any stray bits and pieces. Empty out the pump basket and scrub any leftover scum off the liner while you’re at it. If the pool looks good enough to throw a swimming party, you’ve accomplished the deep clean.

Test the Waters and Prepare for Freezing Temperatures

Winterizing your pool isn’t just about keeping things looking nice for the upcoming summer months. Taking the time to prepare for low temperatures can save you hundreds of dollars in pool damage. After cleaning, be sure to test the pH and alkalinity levels. You may choose to invest in a kit especially made for closing down your pool for the winter. Don’t forget to review chlorine and calcium levels as well.

Even if you live in an area with mild winters, it’s a good idea to lower the water level. Frozen water is one of the main causes of serious pool damage. Take the water down just below the level of the skimmer. Never completely drain your pool of water. Finally, be sure to keep an eye out for freezing temperatures. If they do occur, you’ll want to keep the pump running and/or purchase a timer with freeze protection.

Cover Up

Lastly, place your winter pool cover on. Look for any rips or snaps that can be patched up easily. Major tears indicate that a new cover is required. Some pool owners also find it helpful to use a cover pump. These devices manually or automatically drain excess water from the cover, preventing damage.

Don’t forget about your pool while you’re bundled up inside. Keeping an eye out for any changes or extreme weather is essential to maintaining it during the winter season.

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Pool cover

Get Covered with the Right Pool Protection

The cover is the unsung hero of pool maintenance and care. It protects your precious swimming pool from weather, dirt, excess water and who knows what else. The right one will do all tough work for you without much trouble. Remember these essential tips when purchasing your next pool cover.

Safety Requirements for Families and Pet Owners

A cover can do more than keep your pool clean. It can also prevent accidents. Families with young children and pets in particular should look into safety covers. These covers are different from your traditional or summer ones in that they are anchored to the outside of the pool, providing wider coverage. They come in both solid and mesh varieties. A fence and alarm also recommended to make your pool as safe as possible.

Budget and Protection Needed

A heavy duty winter pool cover may not be necessary for owners in the South. A mesh cover may not suit a backyard that receives a lot of rain and wind. When purchasing a cover, keep your budget and needs in mind. Buying more protection that you need isn’t necessary but skimping will likely have you back in the store looking for a better cover in a few months time.

Size and Style Desired

Of course, you’ll know the dimensions of your pool before going shopping for a cover. But remember, it should actually be a bit bigger than the size of your pool. Consult with a professional if you’re not 100% certain of the exact size you’ll need.

 

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Swimming Pool Cover

Is it Time for a New Liner?

Ah, the age old question. How do I know when it’s time to replace my pool liner? Keeping your pool protected from the elements is essential. A good one does just that without a lot of maintenance. If your liner has you working harder than you’d like, it may be time to update. The following four signs will help you make the decision to replace your liner.

Wear and Tear

If you’re thinking about replacing your liner, you may have noticed some major wear and tear. Large cracks and rips that cannot patched are often found in worn out liners. These cracks allow water to seep in as well as dirt and debris. A liner that can’t protect your pool from leakage and the elements simply isn’t doing its job. If this is the case, it’s necessary to replace the liner before damage occurs.

Loose Fitting and Stretched Out Shape

Aged pool liners may lose their shape after years of use. A loose fitting liner will allow water to leak from the pool. The actual vinyl may become misshapen. Unfortunately, this is one of those instances that definitely indicate a new liner is needed.

Water Loss and Leakage

Sometimes pool liners look perfectly fine but begin leaking water. You may choose to repair some leaks yourself or have it done professionally. However, if they continue, it will be necessary to replace the liner entirely. Leakage is not only a waste; it also damages the walls and erodes the bottom of the pool.

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure is a common problem with older liners. Over the time, the sun’s rays will weaken the actual liner. As it wears down, cracks, tears and leakage may become an issue. When the elasticity is gone, it cannot be replaced. A new liner is the best option.

With the proper care, a pool liner can last over 10 years. While purchasing a new liner isn’t cheap, consider it an investment in the life of your swimming pool.

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